Our first site visit was at Eastern Province with a volunteer named Sue.
Monday Morning: a six hour long drive in a land cruiser. So much of my PCVs were patient with me with my large luggage. We bought bananas on the way. We slept and hated the whole road trip but on e we came to the village of Chandi. We met Sue out and met the small hut. It was one room by definition but it was divided into a bedroom and a sitting room. Efficient but Sue had made it beautiful. People I’ve met during the day have been incredibly kind. Guinea hens and black fur pigs roamed the area while stray dogs wandered after looking for scraps. We cooked from late in the afternoon to early evening just for dinner and the sun had set by them. Chunky pasta sauce with garlic bread slices. Delicious.
The land here sleeps at around five. All year the sun sets at five lulling the village asleep. We met Sue’s counterpart, an extremely helpful intelligent man named Reuben. His son was so cute speaking English asking how are you and I am fine. His wife was so curious asking where USA was as she had only visited the nearby town twice in her life. In the morning, we went with Sue’s host grandfather and also the councilor to the village to visit the chief in the village. With almost two wives and a drinking problem, he was not Ambuyah’s (grandfather) favorite or the villages as he wasted his time with booze and women but not with his village. He never looked at me eye to eye and didn’t speak English and asked us to write in his guest book. We said our thanks and we left to go to the clinic. The sun was draining and I was tanning with bad tan lines. At the clinic, we met volunteer workers who were so dedicated to the cause. They even work substitute work when professionals are away. We then visited the school and asked high school kids questions about HIV and clinic. For right answers they got candy. They were brilliant but I hope they use the knowledge to protect themselves. We returned and went out again to fetch water. Luckily, the bore hole where water is pumped is right across the street. The water was heavy but younger girls were fine carrying larger full loads. I’ll get better, I thought.
I heard drumming since we got gone and apparently the older women drum all day in the celebration of a girl becoming a woman. It is a ceremony known as chinewale.
We ate an amazing great lunch of grilled cheese and zamfries which are oil fried wedges, soaked in grease. I wiped most of it off onto my chitenge which is a versatile piece of fabric used as a wrap skirt. It is pronounced chit-ten-gay and is used from skirt to towel and baby carrier. From now on I will list the uses and number them:
2. Carry water or groceries
4. Baby carrier
5. Cut up for fabric
9. Made into backpack
11. Made into suits or dresses
Maybe I’ll write a published list of 101 Ways To Use A Chitenge.